First Listen: The OC Supertones “For the Glory”
Written by: Brandon Jones
“First Listen” based off a full album stream courtesy of MergePR and BEC Recordings/EMI
I didn’t know what to expect going into this album. I heard “On the Downbeat” but didn’t know if this would truly be a “Ska” album considering bands like No Doubt going the dance/pop route, I was a little fearful. Oh man, have I been proven wrong or what! This album is an incredibly strong piece of musical goodness, both musically and lyrically.
The album starts off skatastic “All the Way Alive” with it’s “Whoa Whoas” and then slams right into some classic upbeats. The song reminds me of “On the Downbeat”, in that vein if you appreciate the soundscapes that song encompasses.
“For the Glory” is the band’s first official “Rock” single and it’s a charging anthem meant to get you on your feet, dancing in joy. Classic guitar upbeats lead into that punk-like distortion and catchy chorus. This song is a message for “critics” the world over. “Our purpose, our mission is to say this is for the glory of God…” I am getting a “Supertones Strike Back” and “Chase the Sun” vibe.
“Hey Hey Hey” is a breezy, summertime beach-like anthem. “Im alive im alive im alive, I know that I’m set free… I was blind I was blind I was blind but now I see….” Some organ is central to the song along with the smooth sound of the horn line.
“Far More Beautiful” begins with the strumming of the acoustic guitar “You’re beautiful, far more beautiful, anything the world will ever know, Keep your eyes on the king, cherish all your tomorrows”. Bass and organs kick in half way through the song along with drumming by Jason Carson and suddenly this song comes out sounding even more charming, beautiful. The label used “Old Friend” from “Chase the Sun” as their big CCM single back in 99’ and this song strikes me in similar terms to that song, except I like this one far more.
“Down to the River” has that classic hymn feel but with a heavy ska vibe. Not my favorite track but still a fun song.
“All the Glory” starts off with some rock n’ roll styled punk sounding guitars before it immediately jumps into the upbeats. “All glory all power hallelujah hey hey hey”. Very Rock n Roll sound on this track yet mixed in with the classic ska sound. A very inspirational and moving song, I love it.
“It’s a Good Day to Be From California” hits home on a personal level seeing as how I live here. It’s a song about enjoying the beauty of the west and appreciating all the good things California has to offer. Even some surf guitar is featured on this track. “It’s a good day to be from California, three cheers for the Golden State” “I’m going back to Cali and I can’t wait”.
“Warmth of the Sun” is a beautiful acoustic based number filled with Matt’s unmistakable voice “I feel your love in the warmth of the sun”. I get a sort of 60’s type feel from this song. Is that a mandolin I hear? Heck yeah!
“On the Downbeat” is up next and if you haven’t heard it the first time around, well expect some surf-y guitar like sound mixed with Matt’s rhyming vocals set to a ska rhythm. If you loved “Supertones Strike Back” you’ll love this.
“Fight On” is track# 10. It’s a heavy, raging, OC Supertones charger. Ska beats into some punk distortion and a catchy chorus. A call to arms.
“Pretty Little Lie” is a very interesting track to me because of its content. The song deals with Matt’s rise to success at a young age and being a “pretty little lie that didn’t satisfy” eventually leading to a bit of failure at the hands of success. This is the kind of stuff most of us “fans” aren’t aware of when following our favorite bands. I love the honesty of this song and the guitar solos sure don’t hurt ;)
“The Wise and the Fool” is the final track on the album which starts off with some goofy antics by those crazy Supertones. Beginning with some ska upbeats and blasting into a heavy solid chorus. “The Revolution starts now, we will rise as one”. Bass solo rules!
I love the combination of sounds on this album and the production value is top notch (thanks to Josh Auer of Pax 217 and mixed by Paul Miner). The OC Supertones do a perfect job combining elements of all their past “core” releases like “Adventures of..”, “Supertones Strike Back”, “Chase the Sun”, and “Loud and Clear”. There is even a little “Hi Fi Revival” in there. This is a fantastic release. If you are expecting another prog-rock ambient indie rock post this or post that type release, you’ll be disappointed but if you want some straight up explosive SKA, you’ll be pleasantly impressed. This release slaps a firm smile on my face throughout the 12 tracks and doesn’t let up one single bit. The band combines elements of Surf rock, Punk, Rock n Roll, and of course SKA to make one extremely relevant, blast from the past, mixed with elements of the future. This my friends is The OC Supertones and they aren’t about to apologize to critics for their signature sound and powerful Christ centered lyrics meant to inspire, uplift, and lead to worship. The sounds permeating this album include ska, reggae, surf, all mixed with some classic punk rock and straight up rock n roll. Recommended if you like the sounds of: OC Supertones, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Less Than Jake, Sublime, Beastie Boys, Surf music